In 2017 we continued working on your behalf in several key areas: economic development on Lincoln Avenue, our schools, and we launched a new fight for open space for our community. We also focused on these issues, and with your input and collaboration, we achieved much during the past year.
- We held three in-depth Community Safety Forums for hundreds of ward residents with our Police Commanders and the Cook County State's Attorney. We initiated our first-ever public safety survey and learned that while almost 70% of you felt generally safe in our community, there is overall concern about increased violent crime and property crime. Police Commanders repeated that while resources are not being diverted from our Ward, new challenges require new approaches to crime.
- Thanks to our court advocacy program, violent offenders in our community received appropriate sentences, including
- a two-year sentence for a woman who fired a gun on Halsted Street in 2015,
- a 23-year sentence for a robber of several businesses on Halsted with a knife,
- a four-year sentence for discharge of a firearm;
- many instances of rapid response by police led to the arrest and prosecution of several repeat offenders.
Education and Children
- The first phase of $20 million dollars in renovations at Lincoln Park High School was completed and features new computer facilities, drama and video labs, a new cafeteria, weight and music rooms, and upgrades to the exterior, hallways and gym.
- Lincoln Park High is rated the best neighborhood high school in Chicago.
- Lincoln Park High held its successful, first-ever homecoming parade.
Parks and Open Space
- We helped create a coalition of aldermen, community groups, sports leagues and open space advocates calling for a minimum 15 acres of contiguous park space in the newly rezoned North Branch Industrial Corridor. Our efforts were endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. As a result of our efforts, the City committed to "at least 10 acres" of open recreational space. We are continuing the push to secure a major park at this location.
- I was delighted to assist the refurbishing of the Oz Park tennis courts by dedicating $30,000 of Aldermanic Menu funds to bolster private fundraising contributions.
- Cummings Park received new playground equipment.
|Cutting the Ribbon at Cummings Playlot
Much-needed separate bike and pedestrian paths created at the lakefront.
Shore Club opened on North Avenue Beach as an upscale restaurant.
- Theatre on the Lake re-opened as a year-round theatrical venue and restaurant.
- The Year of Public Art was in full swing in our ward. Utilizing Aldermanic Menu and matching City funds, we worked with community groups to commission a mural at the Armitage L Station and will soon add a commemorative plaque. We installed a second mural at the newly refurbished Division Street Pedestrian Underpass. In February, we'll launch the third project with the Lincoln Avenue SSA.
- Hosted Meet the Alderman events in Old Town, RANCH Triangle, Sheffield Neighbors, and the Gold Coast.
- Launched new Facebook pages and Twitter @AldermanSmith43
feeds, liked by over 4,000 people each, and currently our newsletter reaches 20,000.
- Held the second annual condo and townhome owner workshop with State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and other experts.
- Repeated the highly popular shredding and electronics recycling event at the Notebaert Museum.
Development and Preservation
- Lincoln Avenue revitalization moves ahead:
Elevate project design
- The Elevate project (pictured above) at Lincoln and Altgeld will be finished this spring.
- A new 4-story development at Lincoln and Montana will continue to modernize the street
- The DePaul School of Music will be completed this spring
- The Master Plan for Lincoln Avenue is underway.
- Condos are under construction at the location of the former Market Place grocery store.
- Over 60 new businesses opened in the Ward in 2017, including:
- Lincoln/Halsted/Fullerton area:
- Armitage/Halsted becomes a major hub of "Clicks to Bricks" stores, becoming a destination for e-commerce stores, including Pogo, The Black Tux, Alice in Ivory, Bentley's Pet Stuff, Union 73, Life is Good, Aesop (skin care) and Palazzo Bridal.
- New restaurants include King Crab, Blue Door Farm Stand, La Colombe, Budlong Chicken and Big Bob and Fritzy's.
- New children's attractions opened including such as Oui Chef, Paris312 (party venue), Performing Arts Studio, and ayya shoes.
- Plus: 2 Amazon delivery stores and at least 30 salons, exercise studios, offices and other business.
- A low-rise development is underway at 61-65 E. Banks Street.
- The Division Street Pedestrian Underpass was refurbished.
- Three Ward projects, including the historic Mulligan School and homes in Old Town and Mid-North, received Preservations Excellence Awards.
- New construction condos are under construction in the Arlington/Roslyn Landmark District, after an extensive community process.
Led the call in City Council to urge Governor Rauner to sign HB 40, a landmark bill that protects a woman's right to choose even if
Roe v. Wade
is overturned. The Governor
signed the law
- Sponsored a resolution affirming the City's support of the rights of all Citizens against unfortunate trends in the country promoting prejudice.
- The Absenteeism Task Force I co-chaired reported dramatic decreases in absenteeism citywide, leading to increased efficiency and availability of personnel to render services. Our recommendations to combat absenteeism will be implemented to reduce the $100 million overtime spending at the police department.
- As a result of the prohibited building list created by the Short Term Rental ordinance that passed in June 2016, listings for Airbnb for Chicago are down by about 1000 units. The City has dedicated specific personnel to implementation and I will continue to press for the utmost enforcement.
- Rodent Control: The new City budget creates five new rodent crews, and laborers will be available to clean persistently dirty areas.
- Environmental Inspection: The City will increase the number of environmental inspectors to investigate air pollution.